Reclaim territory from Maoists: Chidambaram to West Bengal (Lead)

June 17th, 2009 - 9:06 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram New Delhi, June 17 (IANS) Home Minister P. Chidambaram Wednesday said West Bengal must reclaim the Maoist-controlled region in the state even as the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) hoped the central government would cooperate with it to check spiralling violence there.
“The impression is that one side of the (state) government is willing to take action, the other side of the government is worried about the consequences,” Chidambaram told reporters.

“Now, it is the judgement the chief minister (Buddhadeb Bhattacharya) must make. They must move their forces into the affected areas and must reclaim that area which is now dominated by the Maoists,” the home minister said.

“Central paramillitary forces are available in adequate numbers and they will aid and assist the state,” he added.

Maoist violence against ruling CPI-M workers has spread from Lalgarh to Jhargram in West Bengal’s West Midnapore district with three CPI-M activists killed Wednesday.

Seven CPI-M men have been killed and six are missing since last week, with the area witnessing continuous clashes between cadres of the CPI-M and the Maoists. Lalgarh has been on the boil since last November.

Party’s politburo member Sitaram Yechury expressed his hope that the central government would coordinate with the state government in tackling the violence.

“It is an issue between the state and the central governments. The state government has asked for central assistance in dealing with the situation, the centre has reportedly sent forces. We hope they will coordinate and do this,” he said.

Yechury added: “We should remember that it was the prime minister who officially stated that it is a threat to internal security that we are facing through the Maoists. This is the official position of the prime minister.”

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